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Top 25 Letters
The selection and placement of letters on this page were determined automatically by a computer program.

  1. Rude confrontation with a senior member of your management.
  2. Suggestion Box Update
  3. Regarding the Members of Planet Feedback
  4. The Suggestion Box
  5. What Can You Do for Us as President, John McCain?
  6. Children not wanted at Kaufmann's
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  8. Kissing at the Chili's
  9. Return Policy Will Cost Target Millions
  10. My Son is Also a Customer, Barnes & Noble
  11. Movies at the Hilton
  12. Amazon.com sells pornography
  13. Beating Dead Horses! (no offense to any PETA supporters!!!!)
  14. 3 yr old injured
  15. The CDC is wrong....would you want my blood?
  16. Removal of Emily Gillete from Delta Flight 6160
  17. Turned away on Christmas Day by Blockbuster
  18. Inconsiderate Wait Staff
  19. MERRY CHRISTMAS at Target is a dirty word!
  21. David Letterman is Not a Gentleman!
  22. Target's Refusal to Issue a Credit
  23. Rip Off Pizza Joint and only Average Pizza
  24. Kicking Off An Autistic Child Is Bad Business, American Airlines
  25. After more than 30 years shopping at Wal-Mart.....I'm done. Never again.


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Kicking Off An Autistic Child Is Bad Business, American Airlines

Posted Wed June 25, 2008 12:00 pm, by Deborah L. written to American Airlines, Inc.

Write a Letter to this Company  |  Rate this Company

Dear American Airlines:

I just now heard on the news that one of your American Eagle flight crews turned around a flight at Raliegh-Durham airport in order to kick a two year old autistic boy and his mother off the aircraft. Furthemore, the pilot decided to humiliate Jarett Farrell and his mother by announcing to the cabin that the child was 'out of control'. The flight attendant apparently escalated the situation by repeatedly yelling at and scolding the child and then by removing the items Mrs. Farrell could have used to calm the child down.


This was not a child having a tantrum or a drunk on a bender. This was a child with autism, a disability that imedes children and adults with it from processing and understanding their surroundings. Instead of empathy, Jarett and his mom met hostility. Instead of educating the other passengers that you treat differently-abled people with respect, you taught them that disabilities are not welcome or tolerated on American Airlines. I cannot believe intolerance for the disabled is something that American Airlines condones, however, your corporate statement is that the humiliation tactics by this flight crew were acceptable. I find this despicable and small-minded.

I am the parent of an autistic child and I refuse to support any business that mistreats the disabled and holds them out to be ridiculed by others. Consequently, you have lost me and my family as customers.

I will willingly and happily pay more to fly with another carrier that is not so bigoted towards the unique needs of the disabled community.


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by chai Posted Wed October 15, 2008 @ 9:08 AM

American Airlines,
Thank you for the good service.
What you need to know is that you are in the SERVICE industry.
What i have learnt in the service industry is that" CUSTOMERS BUY YOU"
and not the service. If you are good, customers will think your
services are good.
If you act in abad way, they will not like your servces even if they
are perfect.

Look at this case sincerely the FA thought that they were pleasing
other passengers, not knowing that actually by shouting at the
Autistic child, they also upset other passengers.

I mean how do redirect the flight to go back just because of a 2yr
old, ??? I have seen cases where adults drunkards get out of control
aboard. I have never seen flights turned back and passengers kicked

American Airlines did not only waste time and fuel when they turned
back to point of origin, but have lost all customers who found this
act offensive.

I have have an autistic son. One thing should know is that Austic
people find us abnormal because we dont understand them. We actually
upset them most times.
The flight Attendant acted Autistic!! That is the funny bit.No
patience at all.

While I was doing my International Transport Assosciation Course, we
taught how to handle difficult situations.

Please American airrlines send your staff for this . it is under

Having said all that , American Airlines thanks for the good Job.

The African

by Mike H. Posted Sun August 31, 2008 @ 9:23 AM

That child was disrupting the flight and his mom refused to calm him
down so they had every right to throw him and his mom.


How well do you know Autism? by Ricki S. Tue September 23, 2008 @ 11:17 PM

APPLAUSE!!! by LadyMac Thu September 25, 2008 @ 7:07 AM

The problem was by BirmanCat Tue June 16, 2009 @ 2:33 PM
by anonymous consumer Posted Fri August 29, 2008 @ 3:08 PM

Out of control is out of control no matter if the child is autistic or
not. ANYONE who acts up on a plane and can't calm down usually gets
kicked off the plane, it's policy. If you can't handle that, I
suggest getting used to land transportation.

I don't know about others, but when I fly I honestly don't want a wild
child acting up and then having a parent give me a sob story on their
life and instructions on how to deal with the kid. NOBODY wants that
extra hassle when they fly.


by TripletMom08 Posted Tue August 5, 2008 @ 1:49 AM

I am a flight attendant for a major US airline, not AA, however.
I have dealt with my share of rowdy children from babies all the way
up to teenagers and some adults who act as bad as children. I have
been stuck in a metal tube with them literally across the world. I am
also a mother of infant triplets and have traveled with them
(thankfully they just sleep and we have had no incidents...yet...) I
For a FA to actually tell the pilot to turn the plane around in this
sue happy world knowing that she would get so much flack for it, it
must have been unbearable and posing a safety hazard to himself and/or
others. If one of my children has autism then I would make sure I took
the necessary steps to keep him calm on a flight.
Screaming is one thing, because I've heard that for hours on end, but
when a child is rolling on the floor before takeoff she would lose her
job if she allowed such behavior, disability or not. Having a
disability does not exclude you from having to follow safety rules set
in place by the FAA.
As far as the FA depriving the mother of necessary medication, I find
that a bit of a stretch. As annoying as it is, if you sit in the bulk
head you have no storage under your feat, end of story until you are
in the air. Again if that is not enforced and a FAA is onboard you can
have disciplinary action brought against you. I doubt if the mother
had communicated that she had medication or whatever the mother would
have used to calm the child in her bag that the FA would have refused
to get it for her. If only to save her you-know-what in this sue happy
I understand the mother's upset in not wanting to patronize AA also
having an autistic child. They did not kick off an "autistic" child
solely because he was autistic they had to remove him because he was a
danger to himself and others and not complying with the FAA
guidelines. That would be the same on ANY airline you fly on.

by Cubjunkie Posted Mon July 28, 2008 @ 10:18 PM

Disabled people should have the same rights as everyone else but not

If my child who is not disabled behaved that way and I couldn't
control him or her (I have both sons and daughters) we would get
kicked off.

Why shouldn't an autistic child and their family?


Disabled people by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 31, 2008 @ 10:01 AM
by Supor CK Posted Mon July 21, 2008 @ 5:56 AM

i have read most of the post here. and i also have a son with a slight
autism.but the only time i had a child on a plane flight was with my
older son when he was an infant. babies cry, they make noise, they can
be difficult. i was not on this flight to see everything. but i am
reminded because of some of peoples responses to an episode of CSI
when the passengers killed a man because they could not deal with his
behavior and his behavior was due to a medical condition. so as i see
it it comes down to customer service the FA was upset and told the
pilot what she wanted him to know to make the decision to turn around.
so many companies that want to have good customer service fail because
they allow their employees dictate how it will be applied so it makes
their job easier. maybe airlines should start putting cameras in if
they dont already


Interesting by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Mon July 28, 2008 @ 7:55 AM

I agree with Supor CK here by fight noise pollution Thu September 4, 2008 @ 9:33 AM

by shahidah m. Posted Fri July 18, 2008 @ 10:41 PM

My heart goes out to families such as this. However, it is the parent
responsibility to educate others, especially the staff with the
airlines. I too think that since the mother is aware of her child's
special needs, maybe she should not have put him in a position to
travel in such close quarters. I think it is just as important to
help our children in making the necessary adjustments with the
surrounding world, just as we are expecting the world to make
adjustments to children who are clearly having difficulties. Hopeful
someone or an organization will come to the parent and child's aid and
offer assistance in behavior management skills.


in response to "she should not have put him in a position..." by wrongfully-wronged Tue July 22, 2008 @ 4:41 PM

You make some by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Mon July 28, 2008 @ 7:56 AM

I've said this before.. by Harleycat Tue August 12, 2008 @ 11:00 AM
by Soylent Green Posted Tue July 15, 2008 @ 1:19 PM

I just can't be PC about this.
The mother knows this baby has Autism so she should take steps to
sooth or sedate him. The mother claims she had things in the bag to
calm him so why not take those things out and utilize them ?

And as for her claims that the attendant was yelling at the child the
mom is nuts for sitting there allowing someone to treat her child the
way she claims he was being treated. He must have been making quite
the ruckus for them to turn around an AIRPLANE.

by DeeM Posted Wed July 9, 2008 @ 2:29 PM

I'm sure the airline acted in line with their policies, the policies
which apply equally to every single person on that plane. You only
have "a right to fly" only as long as you are able to follow the rules
set down by the airline. If you cannot follow these rules then you
should not be allowed to fly to protect the safety of all the other
people on the flight who are willing to follow the rules.

I don't think action such as turning the plane around are undertaken
lightly! It backs up flights and throws off the timing of everything
leaving that airport gate for hours. I imagine this is considered an
absolute emergency action.

Just because you're autistic does not give someone free pass to freak
out on an airliner flying who knows how high above the earth. It's
not safe and it's not fair to all the other passengers to put their
safety in jeopardy for 1 person.

The kid wasn't thrown off the flight because he was autistic, he was
thrown off because he couldn't follow the same rules everyone else has

Speaking for myself I think taking an autistic kid into an airport and
onto a plane is incredibly cruel and abusive given the nature of their
condition. Obviously this depends on the individual but I can't help
but think it would be horrifyingly overstimulating and disturbing to


flying by Silly Guy1 Fri July 11, 2008 @ 12:00 AM

I agree 100% by MissAmazing Fri July 25, 2008 @ 2:53 PM

Bad Judgement? by Tiffany O Sat August 30, 2008 @ 9:15 PM

by Donno Posted Tue July 8, 2008 @ 11:05 PM

You would think that after hundreds of posts about this AA story,
people would be enraged that a family of 6 with 4 children was thrown
off the SWA plane in the middle of their trip. A family that included
two children with special needs. Some or all of the children couldn't
control themselves and stay in their seats.

So it is odd. All this emotion over the autistic boy and his mother.
Why haven't the parents out there transferred their outrage to the
rights of this family and its children? Why doesn't someone stand up
for them? Is this different? If so, how? Is it in any manner the

What about the subject matter? Rights. Safety. Exactly when and how
do people expect to see the change they clamor for if this the first
page? Is the second page ever going to go to print?


The difference for me is by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Wed July 9, 2008 @ 1:09 AM

Also by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Wed July 9, 2008 @ 1:24 AM

The difference is by LadyMac Wed July 9, 2008 @ 6:52 AM

by RedheadwGlasses Posted Tue July 8, 2008 @ 12:50 PM

Are you insane? Are you a lunatic? That's how you're coming across
in your posts below.

Tell you what, Miss "I'm 22 but acting 13," you get a friend you
respect and admire, someone who's MATURE and ADULT, have them read
that exchange below, and tell her/him to give you an honest

Because, in the worst way, you need to step back and look at your
comments. You're completely off the wall.


o.o by SiotehCat Wed July 9, 2008 @ 3:20 PM
by bill s. Posted Tue July 8, 2008 @ 10:30 AM

What else can they do. They can't take off with a kid rolling around
in the aisle and they needed to inform all of the other passengers why
they were not going to be taking off.


by All About the Branding Posted Mon July 7, 2008 @ 12:20 PM



There is a vast difference in experiences by Donno Mon July 7, 2008 @ 12:58 PM

Defending Southwest by mikedthornton Tue July 8, 2008 @ 11:47 AM

Hi Mike by Donno Tue July 8, 2008 @ 10:26 PM

According to KPHO they refunded... by mikedthornton Wed July 9, 2008 @ 4:56 AM

I agree with you Mike! by DeeM Wed July 9, 2008 @ 2:41 PM

by Teresa B. Posted Sun July 6, 2008 @ 3:27 AM

I am on the fence about this one. I dont have an Autistic child, but
my daughter was not the best of fliers when she was little. We made
several trans-atlantic flights when she was between the ages of 5-12
and it was a hard thing for her. I understand that the flight crew
has to make sure that everyone is in their seats for take off and
landings and that an out of control child is a saftey hazard and must
be dealt with.

I also think that since September 11th alot of what would have been
accepted prior to that is no longer accepted. Airlines can kick you
off the flight for just putting up an argument or defending yourself
with words. I am not suggesting that someone who is verbably abusing
a crew member should not be removed from the plane but I am saying
that perhaps a child who is having some problems adjusting might be
given a bit of le way. Children are not adults and can not be made to
act as such. And an Autistic child would have an even harder time
dealing with change then your normal 2 year old.

I think that when Congress gets around to writing the Passenger Bill
of Rights, there should be something included reguarding children and
thier rights also.


by Donno Posted Sat July 5, 2008 @ 12:29 AM


The link above is from an incident in August of 2007. An autistic man
was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight, and ended up getting to
his destination some 12 hours later.

The irony is that in the PFB Conversations With Consumers widget, not
one but two people in a row speak of SW Airlines as having an
excellent relationship with their consumers. Mike credits Southwest
Airlines with "recognizing each customer as an individual." It looks
like SW Airlines turned things around quickly.

The moral for me is that when these incidents come up, they receive a
lot of attention and emotion. The question is, how is real change

What if in issue affects say, only 2% of a customer base? How can the
hurdle of numbers be overcome?


by pnolan Posted Fri July 4, 2008 @ 10:51 PM

I was a passenger on two aircraft (both legs of my non-stop round
trip) from Austin to Seattle and back that had two Autistic boys. On
the way there, the boy, 8-ish, threw a violent tantrum kicking
furniture and screaming I don't want to go over and over at the top of
his lungs. Ironically after we boarded he say right in front of me. I
was not comfortable with this at all. The mother, blessed with sainted
love, directed the boy with a video game. The American air crew showed
absolute empathy and professionalism that enabled the mother to deal
with a situation that was uncomfortable for her as well. As I tried to
sleep, she kept vigil to make sure her son was content.

Once I got off the plane, I realized that I had actually learned to be
more understanding on the flight of someone who was different than me
and by controlling myself, I allowed someone to share the resource of
flight perhaps to go to a program or see relatives all of which would
be positive social situations for the child.

As with most of the people, if this were an adult, they might be
tazered but the reality was it was a child who needed people to rise
to the occasion. I was the first to panic on that flight and the first
also gladly to accept another human being and learn.
Like I first said, this boy was the first of two flights. In all
honesty, I was sick from a stomach ailment on the way home from
Seattle and when I saw another lively boy, I cringed. Because I would
not physically be able to cope with this situation, I gently asked the
agent at the gate to help make sure I wasn't sitting by him. As I
walked into the plane, I recognized the boy was sitting in first class
amongst people that now all looked like me on my first flight.
Perhaps some of the people would gain "enlghtenment" on their flight
as I had I thought as I popped a pepto in and closed my eyes. The
sooner we realize that none of us is normal, the happier we'll be.

I wrote this letter to the Austin Autistic agency and never heard back
from them. I hope this message finds an open-minded audience.


Thank you for sharing your story by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Fri July 4, 2008 @ 11:08 PM

"it was a child who needed people to rise to the occasion" by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sat July 5, 2008 @ 9:25 AM

by SuzieCat Posted Fri July 4, 2008 @ 3:44 PM

I have tried to stay out of this discussion due to my own personal
situation, but felt the need to make a comment.

Folks seem to be saying either this is about autism or its about
safety. In my eyes, it is about BOTH.

Regulations are regulations, regardless. EVERYONE must put on a seat
belt, regardless of their situation. Not using a seat belt at takeoff
is NOT an option.

ANYONE who cannot or will not comply must be removed from the plane.
Those are indisputable facts.

That said, common sense and decency were clearly lacking here. Had
the flight attendant asked the mom HOW she could help, this might have
gone differently. The mother may have been able to calmly say, "My
child has autism and here is how you can help me get him settled

If given an option, the mom could have given the FA a few quick dos
and donts for her child. Every child with autism is different.

I feel it is unrealistic to expect airline staff to learn the details
how how to handle every disability out there. It IS their
responsibility to rely on and take their queue from the parents or
other companions of folks with disabilities.

In my eyes, everyone involved failed this child at one level or
another. Safety has to come first on an airplane.

Parents of autistic child MUST remain calm. If the parent is visibly
rattled, this will rattle the child. Before anyone hollers, no, I am
not saying this is the mothers fault.

I am saying all the adults played a roll and all could have handled
themselves differently. I dont think anyone is asking for "special"
treatment. I cant imagine the mother would expect FAA rules to be
broken, she just wanted a chance to calm her child.

I just really, really wish folks would make a true effort to be
tolerant of each other. You never, ever know when or if YOU will be
the one "inconveniencing" everyone with a disability.


Very true by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Fri July 4, 2008 @ 4:31 PM

Tolerance and understanding by Donno Fri July 4, 2008 @ 11:26 PM

"You never know when YOU will be the one "inconveniencing" everyone with a disability." by Donno Sat July 5, 2008 @ 12:45 AM

Well said Suzie n/t by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sat July 5, 2008 @ 9:29 AM
by Richard Cranium VI Posted Thu July 3, 2008 @ 3:08 PM

Taking a child with autism into an overstimulating situation like an
airport or aircraft is flat out bad for the child. Anyone who does
this is obviously more interested in their own agenda rather than what
is best for the child. The needs of the child take precedence of the
convenience of the parent.
The best interest of the child must come first. If the child can
not handle such a situation he/she should not be placed in it. The
child began to show signs of dangerous anxiety. A caring parent would
have removed the child herself. A better parent would not have placed
the child on that plane. Choosing alternative travel plans or at least
an time where the environment was less toxic to the child would have
been far more appropriate.
American Airlines is not bigoted, or responsible for a parent's
poor choices. A child with said diagnosis makes this incident a
foreseeable episode. Over stimulation cause fear and panic in autistic
children. The inevitable result is a meltdown. A meltdown on an
aircraft at altitude places all passengers at risk. This is hardly
fair to the passengers or the child. A loving parent would not have
placed the child in this position - ever. American Airlines acted in
the best interest of their passengers and the child. The mother in
question failed her child.


It's not always that simple by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 8:43 PM

The more I think about this by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 9:24 PM

And one more thing... by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 9:26 PM

The best interest of the child. by Richard Cranium VI Sat July 5, 2008 @ 2:01 PM

I mostly agree with you, with one exception by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sat July 5, 2008 @ 6:26 PM

by Birman Posted Thu July 3, 2008 @ 8:54 AM

...have written their U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators in support
of ADARA (Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration Act)?

If you've got the time to argue back and forth about an autistic child
and airplane safety regulations (yes, yes, I know that's a poor
summation of all the negativity, but let's try to get beyond that and
actually DO something), then you've got the time to e-mail your
representatives in both houses of Congress to support this very
important piece of legislation.


I do by Tom S. Thu July 3, 2008 @ 1:26 PM

I have by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 3:25 PM

Excellent! by Tom S. Thu July 3, 2008 @ 3:38 PM

I think what's happened here by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 4:12 PM

Me too by LadyMac Thu July 3, 2008 @ 7:57 PM

by Gdess74 Posted Tue July 1, 2008 @ 3:40 PM

"This was not a child having a tantrum or a drunk on a bender. This
was a child with autism, a disability that imedes children and adults
with it from processing and understanding their surroundings."

And the parent started the situation by brining a kid on a plane that
shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Everyone's safety comes first on airplanes. They are strict for a
REASON. You, and the media, are turning this into a b/s rant about
autism, when it really should be about proper parenting. Not able to
process their surroundings? What if this kid had gone bonkers 30,000
feet in the air, opened the door and jumped?

I mean come ON grab a clue!


Exactly by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Tue July 1, 2008 @ 4:32 PM

That is what this is really about by Donno Wed July 2, 2008 @ 11:10 AM

This education is needed, by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Wed July 2, 2008 @ 5:56 PM

Excellent response! by Tom S. Wed July 2, 2008 @ 6:05 PM

Thank you Tom by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 7:47 AM

Oh keep reaching by Gdess74 Wed July 2, 2008 @ 8:54 PM

How, exactly by LadyMac Wed July 2, 2008 @ 9:22 PM

Being rude on public message boards for one by Gdess74 Wed July 2, 2008 @ 11:48 PM

Perhaps I wasn't clear by LadyMac Thu July 3, 2008 @ 6:35 AM

She cannot. n/t by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 8:04 AM

I'm glad you by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 7:43 AM

In the absence of real solutions, I think it will keep happening. by Donno Mon July 7, 2008 @ 9:29 PM

Wow. Just wow. by Tom S. Tue July 1, 2008 @ 6:28 PM

She did not say "WE" by MA Cunningham Thu July 3, 2008 @ 11:36 AM

Discrimination? by Tom S. Thu July 3, 2008 @ 12:37 PM

Actually, by MA Cunningham Thu July 3, 2008 @ 1:51 PM

Clearly by LadyMac Wed July 2, 2008 @ 8:03 AM

I find this offensive by Hello Kitty Thu July 3, 2008 @ 12:17 PM

I really don't care by Gdess74 Thu July 3, 2008 @ 2:26 PM

As I was saying... by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 8:52 PM

Whatever by Gdess74 Fri July 4, 2008 @ 2:09 PM

You are well within your rights to disagree.. by Hello Kitty Sat July 5, 2008 @ 5:00 PM

Yet neither you nor venice didn't... by Gdess74 Sun July 6, 2008 @ 11:26 AM

Here's what I think by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sun July 6, 2008 @ 3:39 PM

Your thinking is wrong by Gdess74 Sun July 6, 2008 @ 5:17 PM

Ahh.. there ya go by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sun July 6, 2008 @ 9:03 PM

You make absolutely no sense by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 12:03 AM

Ahhhh by Just Brenda Mon July 7, 2008 @ 1:56 PM

I'm glad you enjoy insulting people who have passed away by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 5:06 PM

I'll by Just Brenda Mon July 7, 2008 @ 7:23 PM

LMAO!!! You don't care you insulted somebody that has died?? Showing your true colors aren't cha? by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 8:42 PM

Why should I care? by Just Brenda Mon July 7, 2008 @ 8:51 PM

I'm 22 years old and I live in Whitehall, Pennsylvania by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 8:55 PM

The young hillbilly is done or no? by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 10:01 PM

Are you for real? by Just Brenda Tue July 8, 2008 @ 8:14 AM

Oh and by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 10:04 PM

So you lie in order to make a point? by LadyMac Tue July 8, 2008 @ 6:51 AM

Sigh, by Just Brenda Tue July 8, 2008 @ 8:25 AM

Oh and... by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 1:53 AM

You know what? by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Mon July 7, 2008 @ 2:49 AM

AWW! by Gdess74 Mon July 7, 2008 @ 10:18 AM

No parent knows.. by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Tue July 8, 2008 @ 2:16 PM

by StoicGrrl Posted Mon June 30, 2008 @ 7:50 AM

I haven't been around lately for reasons of my own, but after reading
some of the comments on this thread I had to say something.

First off, I agree that this specific flight crew handled this
situation poorly, and I honestly feel for this child and his mother.
I know that one of the hardest parts of having a special-needs child
is the reactions of others, and I do sympathize. I also think that
you're well within your rights to choose to do business with another
airline due to your own situation and experience.

But something you said downthread honestly offended me, and I couldn't
let it go. My father has worked for American Airlines since they
bought out TWA and he was one of those lucky enough to keep his job in
the change over. He has over 40 years experience, and is at this
point praying that he will have some kind of retirement package
available in two years when he turns 65 and is eligible for
retirement. For you to say that you won't be sorry if American goes
bankrupt, possibly robbing him and thousands of others in his
situation of the benefits they were promised is frankly unfair.
Especially because this incident involved only a finite number of
employees making an error in judgment, and not a decision on the part
of the employees as a group.

When people are confronted with a situation they find threatening, be
it a perceived threat to their safety or a perceived slight to their
children, they can respond emotionally. The results can be
unpleasant, but as you've said that doesn't excuse those people's
reactions. I believe your statement is prompted by a similar
emotional response and not necessarily by any wish that thousands of
people lose their jobs and benefits. Similarly, I would hazard to
guess that a flight crew who was unfamiliar with this child's needs
reacted emotionally and therefore poorly. J

That's just my two cents. Again, I do agree with the premise of the
letter, and I do understand the difficulties parents of special needs
children face when confronted with people who are unfamiliar with
those needs. I just can't condone a cavalier attitude toward the
possible bankruptcy of a company that employs so many people.


You have missed the latest craze by Donno Mon June 30, 2008 @ 8:21 PM

And by Just Brenda Mon June 30, 2008 @ 10:18 PM

She didn't. by All About the Branding Tue July 1, 2008 @ 7:05 AM

I saw by Just Brenda Tue July 1, 2008 @ 8:20 AM

I don't disagree... by StoicGrrl Tue July 1, 2008 @ 10:47 AM

Except that she went further... by All About the Branding Tue July 1, 2008 @ 6:33 PM

by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Posted Sun June 29, 2008 @ 8:56 PM

Great letter Deb.

The FA robbed the mother of her own authority over the child. The FA
wanted to show the mother who was in authority here, and by continuing
to adjust that seat belt repeatedly and possibly forcibly, she
succeeded in doing just that, additionally confusing and scaring a
child who already has much difficulty understanding social situations.
The mother never had a chance to deal with her child appropriately due
to the inept handling of the situation. It then escalated out of


When it comes to my safety by Gdess74 Tue July 1, 2008 @ 2:53 PM

By robbing the mother by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Tue July 1, 2008 @ 4:12 PM

You can't blame the flight attendant by Gdess74 Tue July 1, 2008 @ 4:21 PM

Well the flight attendant by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Tue July 1, 2008 @ 4:37 PM

Non PC Answer by Gdess74 Wed July 2, 2008 @ 11:34 AM

You are heartless by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Wed July 2, 2008 @ 4:22 PM

Right back atcha! by Gdess74 Wed July 2, 2008 @ 5:20 PM

No, I do not pity the autistic by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Wed July 2, 2008 @ 5:34 PM

Ooooh you have to resort to insulting by Gdess74 Wed July 2, 2008 @ 8:52 PM

How exactly were you insulted? by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Wed July 2, 2008 @ 11:44 PM

No, you resorted to insulting by Gdess74 Wed July 2, 2008 @ 11:47 PM

That's funny by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 12:12 AM

I'm not the one who started it by Gdess74 Thu July 3, 2008 @ 2:28 PM

This mother by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Wed July 2, 2008 @ 6:19 PM

Leanne by LadyMac Wed July 2, 2008 @ 9:19 PM

Deaf and resistant by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 7:46 AM

You're welcome by LadyMac Thu July 3, 2008 @ 9:37 AM

I do believe by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Thu July 3, 2008 @ 11:28 AM
by Hello Kitty Posted Sat June 28, 2008 @ 5:35 PM

The thing I find most appalling about this situation is the behavior
of the pilot.

There is absolutely no excuse to announce to the entire plane that a
child was 'out of control'.

I have been on several flights in which a plane was made to turn
around, and no explanation needs to be given except that the plane is
being returned and the situation is not equipment or weather related.

It takes a hard, cold bastard to have announced that, thereby
humiliating Jarrett and his mother further.


Hello, "Hello"... by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sat June 28, 2008 @ 5:58 PM

I'm good, Venice...how you? by Hello Kitty Sat June 28, 2008 @ 6:04 PM

I'm mediocre by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sat June 28, 2008 @ 6:45 PM

by mary jo Posted Fri June 27, 2008 @ 10:43 PM

The fact of the matter is this:

Every disabled person has the same exact RIGHTS that YOU do. They have
the right to fly on an airplane whether or not they can handle doing
so. They have the right to fly on that airplane whether or not YOU are
able to handle them doing so.

Should your flight...or dinner...or movie...or whatever be "ruined"
because a disabled person has a behavior? Probably not. Should you
have a little more compassion for a person, and their family, who have
to deal with a burden you will hopefully never

Next time, instead of wishing that a disabled person who is acting out
be banished back to the institutions..think about how you would feel
if YOU were that person, locked in a body and/or mind that you cant
get out of. Think of how you would feel if you were that person's
family member. And then thank whoever you feel necessary that you DONT
have to deal with it.

My 5 guys are out in public at least a couple times a week. People
amaze me. I am so thankful because I worried that we would be shunned,
ridiculed, whatever. But amazingly most people are so kind and
understanding. THey are patient and will help us if they can. There
have been few who think themselves superior to my guys and they try to
cut in front of us because we dont move fast enough or something. But
they have been few and far between.

If we all have a little more compassion for just people in general,
this world would be a much better place.

Please remember that the person you see as disabled, different,
weird..is just like you. They have feelings, dreams, goals. They feel
pain and happiness the same as you. They just cant express themselves
the way you can. They are human beings just like you are and trust me,
there is a fine line between "normal" and "disabled".


You may wish to double-check your "facts" by Birman Sat June 28, 2008 @ 1:42 AM

Another view of this.. by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Sat June 28, 2008 @ 11:20 AM

Karma Happens! by Birman Sun June 29, 2008 @ 2:22 PM

Im not Harley but by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sun June 29, 2008 @ 8:19 PM

Gotta love Karma.. by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Mon June 30, 2008 @ 8:52 AM

Mine too. by BellaSera Mon June 30, 2008 @ 9:53 AM

Mary jo, I understand what you are saying by Peregrina Sat June 28, 2008 @ 2:22 AM

Beautifully said by LadyMac Sat June 28, 2008 @ 7:17 AM

Then as a society we need to ask for new rules/procedures by Donno Sat June 28, 2008 @ 12:18 PM

In other words by LadyMac Sun June 29, 2008 @ 3:58 PM

Where am I casting judgement on you? I just don't agree with you. by Donno Sun June 29, 2008 @ 7:50 PM

LadyMac, make up your mind by Peregrina Mon June 30, 2008 @ 4:04 AM

Deb by MA Cunningham Thu July 3, 2008 @ 11:56 AM

by Tom S. Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 10:41 PM

I am hoping the mother informed the flight crew of her son's
condition, but the flight attendant really should not be adjusting a
seatbelt for any child unless the parent refuses to do so. The pilot
also should not have made any comments about the child to the mother
except perhaps that the child would not be able to fly if he did not
stay buckled in his seat. The situation had to have been obvious to
all the passengers (American Eagle planes are small) so there was no
need for the pilot to make any explanation in his announcement other
than the plane was returning to the gate to allow a passenger to get

As a father of a child with autism, I have great empathy for the
mother in this story. She is new to autism (the child is only two)
and no doubt will learn quickly some of the techniques that help a
child with autism adjust to a new situation with a minimum of stimming
and agitation. My family had to take a four-hour flight when my
child was four, so we rehearsed the flight as much as possible by
showing pictures of the inside of airplanes, how the windows looked
and what might be seen from the windows, how it would feel to be
belted into the chair (car seatbelts were a great tool) and then we
made a game of leaning back in our seats in anticipation of the take
off. My child had no fear when we boarded the plane and actually was
excitedly telling us what was going to happen - and no other passenger
on the flight ever knew about the autism.

I have to agree with the pilot that the luggage had to be stowed and
the child needed to be buckled in his seat in order for the plane to
take off as that is basic safety for a flight, but I also think the
pilot and flight attendants need to be trained in how to address a
problem like this with tact and understanding. Could the mother not
have been allowed one of the objects from the carryon that helped to
calm the child?

Parents of children with autism already are a little tense and usually
are embarrassed and frustrated when a situation like this happens, so
a friendly smile from others - especially those in authority positions
- helps calm the parent and thereby helps the parent calm the child.


Good point, Tom by RedheadwGlasses Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:51 PM

Beautifully said, Tom by LadyMac Fri June 27, 2008 @ 6:37 AM

Wonderful response. by BellaSera Fri June 27, 2008 @ 8:30 AM

Wonderful response Tom by dulynoted Fri June 27, 2008 @ 2:34 PM

Excellent advice by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sat June 28, 2008 @ 4:30 PM

I agree by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sun June 29, 2008 @ 2:23 AM

You said it by LadyMac Sun June 29, 2008 @ 4:03 PM

I absolutely do, been there, done that n/t by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sun June 29, 2008 @ 8:15 PM

by seraphimsong Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 8:59 PM

I honestly think that this was a poor decision on the part of the
mother. Yes, I understand that flying can be a quicker way of travel
and sometimes easier, but being a mother of a two year old ( and she
is very well behaved ) I would never take her on a plane. Only for the
fact that any two year old doesn't like to be confined for an extended
amount of time. Airplanes are also quit scary for children and I dont
think that my daughter would calmly sit during take off. I don't know
thats just my opinion.

As for the airline announcing the childs disablilty to everyone, I
think that is a little uncalled for.


I feel the same way about travelling with my three year old by Final Score: Boys-3, Girls-1 Fri June 27, 2008 @ 10:39 AM

It's a hard call, really. by Holly P. Mon July 7, 2008 @ 5:36 PM

Oh no I think you misunderstood me by seraphimsong Tue July 29, 2008 @ 5:53 PM

by Donno Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 6:12 PM

and she said she *sees the point* of America Airlines' stance on this
incident but that "I just needed more time and patience on the airline
staff's part to settle him down." The pilot himself did come back and
try to settle the boy down.

Based on this, I stand by my original statement that the crew did what
it thought it had to do. They have slots for takeoff and they can't
wait longer than a certain amount of time to be ready to go.

It is an unfortunate situation, but I think the airline did what it
had to. No doubt, once they made the decision to return to the gate
they lost a lot more of the passengers' time, but they have procedures
to follow.


And I stand by LadyMac Thu June 26, 2008 @ 7:31 PM

I doubt this is airline specific by Donno Thu June 26, 2008 @ 10:20 PM

And you are welcome by LadyMac Fri June 27, 2008 @ 7:13 AM

So, do you honestly believe... by All About the Branding Fri June 27, 2008 @ 1:12 PM

Didn't say I wished it by LadyMac Fri June 27, 2008 @ 2:02 PM

Then don't be sorry... by All About the Branding Fri June 27, 2008 @ 2:06 PM

I won't be (n/t) by LadyMac Fri June 27, 2008 @ 2:28 PM

I'd like to think that this is aircrew specific as well.. by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Fri June 27, 2008 @ 11:45 AM

Not to mention... by All About the Branding Fri June 27, 2008 @ 1:14 PM

Where was the compassion for the child from the mother? by Richard Cranium VI Thu July 3, 2008 @ 3:19 PM

Hmm. by Holly P. Mon July 7, 2008 @ 5:56 PM

by Final Score: Boys-3, Girls-1 Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 12:21 PM

What's the real issue here? Is it that the mom was embarassed? Didn't
get to fly?

Poor little Jarrett is probably relieved that they exited the plane.
He was obviously uncomfortable with the seat belt (which he HAS to
wear to be safe). Although I do agree that the attendant should have
asked the mother to make sure it was secure, we don't know if the
mother refused to do this. I can't imagine what the noise and rumbling
of the plane were doing to this child!!! I think it's a bit scary
myself, I can only imagine what it would be like to an autistic
toddler. Turbulence, the loudspeaker, and other scary things would be
happening during the flight, imagine being stuck in the air with all
that craziness.

Even if a child is not handicapped, I think the humane thing to do
would be to take a child who scared or having a tantrum OUT of the
situation, and try again another time. And although I'm sure it's the
well-being of everyone, not just Jarrett that the pilot was thinking
of, it only made sense to have them leave. I agree that he could have
been a bit more sensitive in the wording of his announcement, but he
did have to make an announcement to let passengers know, so they
wouldn't think there was something wrong with the plane or anything.
See, even healthy adults can be scared or nervous, and want to know
what's going on!

Perhaps Mrs. Farrell can try again some day. It would be nice if some
experts could provide some councelling on helping autistic children
deal with air travel. But all I know is if we were on that flight,
Jarrett's behavior would have upset my children, and then they would
be freaking out, and it would have had a whole domino effect on the

So, telling them to leave, I don't think the airline was in the wrong.
I do, however, think they could have been more sensitive about it.


Yes and no by Holly P. Tue July 8, 2008 @ 11:53 AM

If you read Tom's response above... by Final Score: Boys-3, Girls-1 Tue July 8, 2008 @ 4:32 PM
by S W. Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 12:14 PM

I, for one, am completely sick of the media reporting this kind of
thing as a poor innocent toddler or, in this case, an autistic child
was kicked off the a plane by a heartless airline.

I'm not in a position to judge how well the crew handled the
situation. I wasn't there. Maybe they could have been more tactful
or maybe we're all responding to a skewed media version of the events
and it was handled well. Who knows.

On the other hand, I can say that any time ANYONE on a plane places
the rest of the flight in danger by not complying with FAA rules or
causes a planeload of other people to be impacted by bad behavior that
person should be booted off the plane. No questions asked. It should
be done as tactfully as possible, but done nevertheless.

This latest incident isn't about a special needs child being targeted.
It is about a person who wouldn't remain appropriately seated for
takeoff and a parent who wouldn't comply with luggage storage rules.
Autisim or not, these things have to be adhered to or the plane goes
nowhere and the rest of the passengers suffer. Who's to say what's
more important.....giving the screaming child more time to calm down
or causing other passengers to miss connections and, perhaps, critical
events in their own lives. The needs and safety of the many must out
weigh the needs of the single passenger. IF extra time and
consideration can be given to a passenger with special needs, by all
means, extend the courtesy. However, most often airline schedules do
not have that luxury. It is appalling to me that parents of
misbehaving children feel that the airlines need to accomodate their
need to calm their children down at great impact to not only the
passengers on that particular flight, but all other flights connected
to it.

And, yes, there have been a number of similar incidents involving non
special needs people in the past year or so. To say people with
special needs are being targeted is irresponsible. I absolutely feel
for the parents of special needs kids and would love to see all
possible accomodations provided, but not at the expense of many
other's safety.

by MSKAT Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:40 AM



by Zan Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 10:47 AM

and reading the responses from other posters, and I think I have to
agree with those who are saying this wasn't about the child's autism.
It's not that disabilities are not welcome or tolerated, but that
disruptive, potentially dangerous behavior is not. No, this wasn't a
drunk on a bender or a non-disabled child having a tantrum, but that
doesn't make it any less of a safety hazzard for the other passengers
or the child himself.

Was the flight attendant out of line scolding the child? Perhaps. We
don't know what steps the mother was taking to try to calm him. When I
was a child, my mother, who was an elementary school teacher, told me
that there was one circumstance in which a teacher was allowed to
strike a child, and that was if the child was being disruptive during
a fire drill or other emergency situation in which the disruptive
behavior could pose a threat to other's safety. I don't know if that's
still the case today, but this is a similar situation. Jarret's
behavior was posing a threat to the safety of the flight, and the
mother's actions weren't helping, so the flight attendent stepped in.
I would have to have witnessed exactly what took place to make a
decision on this, but I'm throwing that out there for speculation.

I do have sympathy for Jarret and his mother, but I don't think the
airlines actions were in any way an example of intolerance for his
disability. Just my .02.


I love by LadyMac Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:05 AM

Jan 14th 2007 was the last time in the media Lady Mac by Marty5223 Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:10 AM

Here is another one...different situation than crying by Marty5223 Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:20 AM

Here is another example of a healthy child being kicked off by Marty5223 Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:24 AM

Honestly, it doesn't sound like there was much to exacerbate at that point by Zan Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:29 AM

I just found this on the FAA web site by Marty5223 Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:39 AM

by MA Cunningham Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 10:11 AM

if perhaps the severity of Jarett's condition means that he will
always be too affected to fly. There are some people who just are not
physically able to handle air travel.

I mean, you wouldn't put someone with clautrophobia on a plane and
expect them to be able to deal with their condition, would you?

I agree that there should be compassion and sensitivity for passengers
who may have special needs, but in this specific incident, I don't
think continuing to subject the rest of the passengers to the boy's
behavior would be fair either.

I think the airline could have handled the situation better than they
did, but if this child was really as distraught and unable to cope as
the media is suggesting, than maybe he had no business being on the
plane in the first place.

by gb Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 9:58 AM

I am the parent of a child with Aspergers. None of us were on this
flight so we do not know all the details. If this child was having a
tantrum and would not remain seated, which he must for takeoff and
landing, then they were probably correct to remove the family.
Understanding of people with disabilities is necessary, but so is the
safetly of everyone on the plane and the airline regulations. Could
the pilot and flight attendant handled this better? Sure they could
have. If this happened and the child was not on the autism spectrum
would people be upset? I have a nephew who is not autistic who
probably would have done the same thing being strapped down in an
airplane seat. One thing that may have helped the mother would have
been to have strapped the child into his car seat. I would think that
is they traveled by car that they would have a car seat that could
contain the child.


by halah Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 9:47 AM

I'm so glad you and your autistic child will never fly another AA
flight again. I will gladly fly them and any airline that continues to
abide by the FAA rules.

It has nothing to do with the child being disabled and everything to
do with the fact that the child wouldn't stay in his seat belt and
threw a tantrum on the floor of the plane. This is unsafe and puts
everyone on the flight at risk if something were to happen.


You clearly know nothing about autism by LadyMac Thu June 26, 2008 @ 10:44 AM

Actually.... by halah Thu June 26, 2008 @ 1:54 PM

by All About the Branding Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 7:36 AM

I have another question, by way of education:

At what age can autism be reliably diagnosed?

I've been told by a child psychologist that a reliable diagnosis on a
learning or emotional disability cannot be made until a child is 5.
Before that, it may be possible to say that it SEEMS to be XYZ, but
it's not a diagnosis.

At 2, there's such a wide spectrum of development, that it seems that
it might be premature to have a definite diagnosis.

Or is autism something that can be diagnosed reliably in babies
because there are clear physical signs?


It's usually diagnosed by 3 by LadyMac Thu June 26, 2008 @ 7:55 AM

Yep by Tom S. Thu June 26, 2008 @ 8:06 AM

Thanks. by All About the Branding Thu June 26, 2008 @ 8:07 AM

by TrishMcCoy Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 1:26 AM

Disabled people have rights, yes, but so do the rest of us. That
mother seems to be saying the rest of the passengers and the flight
crew had no right to be upset with her and her kid because her kid has
a disability so they should have been understanding of his screaming

Sorry, no. If your child has a disability that causes him to be
uncontrollable in public places, that does not give him the right to
make others miserable.


Exactly!!! by Katseyes Thu June 26, 2008 @ 4:06 AM

Sorry... by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:08 AM

by SZ Posted Thu June 26, 2008 @ 12:04 AM

'Autism' is a euphemism for 'I can't control my kid, so the rest of
the world has to revolve around me.' Aren't we carrying this
'disabilities' thing a little too far? Instead of just interviewing
the prima donna mother, I'd like to hear what some of the affected
passengers on the plane have to say.

Deborah, I saw the video you cited. You sure know how to pile it on!
You made statements in this so-called complaint that were not even
evident. Exaggerate much, do you?


EXCUSE ME???? by Tom S. Thu June 26, 2008 @ 1:48 AM

That is a really ignorant statement on your part by gb Thu June 26, 2008 @ 9:49 AM
by Peregrina Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 10:45 PM

What kind of fit was this kid throwing that 'turning this plane
around' was the answer?

I wonder what story some of the other passengers would tell?

The article is pretty one sided and crafted to hit all the right

Since it has come up several times, I'm going to echo what other
posters have said. It sounds like a bad idea to take this kid on the
plane in the first place. Before someone jumps my case, no I do not
think disabled kids and adults should stay at home so they won't
bother anyone, but I do think there should be some common sense about
what activities are appropriate. Someone who is claustrophobic
probably shouldn't become a miner. Someone who is afraid heights
should avoid becoming a high wire walker.

I'm agoraphobic and I try to avoid situations that trigger panic
attacks, including crowds, close confines and casual touch by
strangers. Among other things, this means I don't go to many concerts
and given half a chance, I drive instead of fly. There are simply some
things I cannot do and I have to accept that, not expect special

This kid was already stressed by the change in his routine, as any 2
year old and many adults would be. Being autistic is just an extra

The kid needs to learn how to cope with the world - and vice versa -
but that doesn't mean that one person trumps another. They tried. The
kid, the mother and the flight attendant could not cope, so in the
interest of the majority of the passengers and crew, they turned
around and let the mother and the kid off.

Agree or not, there were other passengers who needed to make
connecting flights or simply get home at the appointed time. Two
people did not trump all the rest.


by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 9:34 PM

I just read the article, and my first impression was that the
situation was handled poorly by the flight attendant. I don't think
the autism aspect is as important as it's being made out to be.
Something like this can happen with any two year old, and I think
flight attendants should be trained to understand and deal with this
type of behavior. It did seem to escalate unnecessarily, and I think
a more appropriate reaction might have prevented the complete
meltdowns of both the child and mother. Since it reached a point
where the child was rolling on the floor, I do think he needed to be
removed before the plane took off because that's just too dangerous
for the child and everyone else on board. I'm sure the pilot was
frustrated, but his announcement was inexcusable.

I'm not sure I would take any two year old on an airplane. It's just
too risky. Once you're in the air, there's nowhere to go if a problem
develops. You can't remove the child, and you can't even walk around
if necessary. I don't think it's a good idea to be in closed quarters
with no options for any length of time especially in the air.
Sometimes you have to do what's best for your child even if it means
making sacrifices. I don't believe in setting a child up for failure
for something the parent wants or needs to do. It's better to look at
the alternatives.

I hope an impartial passenger who witnessed this incident comes
forward. That may be the only way we'll ever know what actually took


I think this is a great response Venice. by BellaSera Thu June 26, 2008 @ 7:49 AM

Yes, great response.. by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:12 AM

Sensitivity Training by BellaSera Thu June 26, 2008 @ 11:55 AM

In addition by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu June 26, 2008 @ 4:48 PM

by Blackrack Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 9:04 PM

I've got to say this; any passenger on an airplane needs to be able to
keep their seatbelt on. If they are an infant, they need to be in the
proper restraints, usually provided by the airline.

My father saw pictures of the body of a child who was crushed to death
during air turbulence because they refused to stay in the restraints
and the parent refused to make them stay in the restraints, and he
said it was once of the most horrific things he's seen in a long
career of medicine.

Regulations are in place for the safety of both the passengers in the
crew. If a child cannot travel on a plane safely, they should not
travel on a plane.


by Bill R. Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 7:31 PM

Considering that none of us were there I think every opinion shared
thus far makes a degree of sense.
Here's mine:
American Eagle flies


My message got garbled. One final try. by Bill R. Wed June 25, 2008 @ 8:05 PM
by Zan Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:56 PM

I'm going to reserve judgment until I hear the airline's side of it
(if they make any kind of statement). This is a tough call. My heart
definitely does go out to the child and his mother, BUT - depending on
how out of control the boy was, it could have potentially caused a
dangerous situation. If he was screaming and flailing, he could hurt
people walking by, or they could trip over him. If the crew needed to
make emergency announcements, passengers may not have been able to
hear them over his screams. And if the pilot could hear him from the
cockpit (since he apparently came out to speak to the mother), what if
he was having trouble hearing messages from the control tower over the

Curious to hear AA's take on this.


by dottiejean28 Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:30 PM

perhaps this child was one of the violent types, which cannot be
controlled without a huge effort. I have a few classmates who worked
with autistic children, and the behavior of the kids depends on the
severity of the autism...one child can be coherent and friendly and
brilliant and the other could be aloof combative and unable to calm
down. My class instructor's son is autistic but very mildly so, and
even SHE says she would remove her child from the situation
herself....its what happens with children of that disability...they
need to be removed from the situation and calmed down...thus the
airline was sort of in the right. These violent types can be as
strong as teenagers when very young, and as strong as men when they
are teenagers...I have heard stories of them injuring people by
flailing about, and chipping the teeth of a person next to them when
they got hit in the face with a fist....and this was a five year old
hitting that hard!


by Donno Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:52 PM

so you really don't know the situation. You can get all indignant and
such, but you are assuming you have all the details when you very well
may not.

I have no doubt that one of AA's goals is NOT to ridicule or mistreat
its disabled customers. They do, however, have to get a plane full of
passengers safely to its destination. I respect whatever decision the
flght crew felt it had to make. There isn't time to hold sensitivity
training while in flight.


Then perhaps by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:11 PM

I wasn't there either by calm Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:19 PM
by Celleri k. Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:30 PM

If the child couldn't handle being on a plane, why even fly in the
first place..?

It seems like nowadays, "autistic" is a magic word. If someone claims
to be autistic or that their child is autistic, it means "treat me
like a normal person with all the respect and consideration a normal
person deserves, but I don't expect to have to follow the same rules
as everyone else".

If the mother had simply told the flight attendant ahead of time that
her child had special needs and made arrangements, instead of

It's not like they said "We don't allow retards on our plane," the kid
was causing a serious disruption that could have endangered the lives
of everyone else on board. Pilots don't arbitrarily decide to turn a
taxiing plane around, that costs time and money that way exceeds the
cost of a plane ticket or two.

One passenger's special needs shouldn't mean an unsafe flight for the
rest of us, kthnx.


Yeah.... by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:39 PM

I hate to cause flared tempers... by Blackrack Wed June 25, 2008 @ 9:33 PM

sad but true by Celleri k. Wed June 25, 2008 @ 10:11 PM

Sad but true by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sun June 29, 2008 @ 1:51 AM

Yes, Leanne by LadyMac Sun June 29, 2008 @ 4:00 PM

What made you think I meant you? by Celleri k. Mon July 7, 2008 @ 6:03 AM

Designer Disabilities... alert the geneticists!! We want more autistic kids! by Holly P. Mon July 7, 2008 @ 5:49 PM

In this particular situation by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Mon July 7, 2008 @ 6:13 PM

Are you serious? by Celleri k. Thu July 17, 2008 @ 5:04 AM

CelleriK by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Wed July 9, 2008 @ 10:46 AM

Who says she ignored them? by ams1001 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:41 PM

No one, but... by Celleri k. Wed June 25, 2008 @ 10:01 PM

Autistic....a magic word?!?!?!?!? by mary jo Wed June 25, 2008 @ 10:29 PM

um.. what? by Celleri k. Wed June 25, 2008 @ 11:56 PM

Getting away from the letter for a moment... by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Thu June 26, 2008 @ 1:30 AM

I think I can answer you Venice. by mary jo Fri June 27, 2008 @ 10:32 PM

I don't know too much about autism by ♪♪Venice♪♪ Sat June 28, 2008 @ 4:06 AM

by Casmly Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:22 PM

I definitely do not agree with the flight attendant reaching over and
adjusting the child's belt. I have to wonder though if the mother was
asked to adjust the belt and she refused. (Not that there is any
evidence of this, just can't rule it out). I do believe that this is
the point that the mother should have alerted the flight staff of her
son's condition if she hadn't already. Not so that he would be
singled out, but rather so that they could handle the situation a bit
more appropriately. Although I'm sure that the average person doesn't
necessarily have the proper knowledge to deal with an autistic child.
The mother could have at least offered a bit of an explanation "My
child is autistic and is extremely sensitive to touch. I'll do what I
can to make sure his belt stays tight."

I see both sides of this situation. Unfortunately it sounds as if
this relatively minor situation escalated into an uncontrollable
situation when it didn't have to.

by dawniedawn67 Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:18 PM

Should I miss my connecting flight because we have to sit on the
tarmac for an extra half-hour while this mother calms her child down?

The reason she was not allowed items to help calm his was because she
wanted them - all of them - in a bag on the floor in front of her.
Because they had bulkhead seats, these items needed to be stored under
seats during takeoff, or in an overhead compartment. Mrs. Farrell
refused to place the bag overhead. Have you ever flown before? I
have flown 6 times in the past 6 months and each time my bags had to
be under the seat in front of me or in the comparment overhead.

The next issue is, the plane was taxiing and getting ready for
takeoff. Jarrett was having a meltdown, trying to and eventually
succeeding in getting out of his seatbelt. That is why the flight
attendant kept pulling it tight again. Again, this is FAA regulation
that all passengers be seated in the upright position with their
seatbelts fastened during takeoff.

Perhaps Mrs. Farrell should explore other travel options until such a
time when Jarrett is better able to cope with flying. The needs of
one child should not supercede the needs of the other hundred or so
passengers on board who need to get to their destination.

I also do not think that the pilot needed to make the announcement
that he did. A simple "we need to return to the terminal due to an
onboard situation" would have sufficed.


seat belt by ams1001 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:37 PM

What a great idea by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:43 PM

In this situation..... by dawniedawn67 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 10:35 PM
by Marty5223 Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:16 PM

I will happily fly this airline.

Sorry the child is autistic but if the child is out of control as it
appears from what I heard I would be glad they booted them off the
plane. No paying passenger should have to put up with this problem in
a tight cramped cabin on any airline. I can't imagine anything worse.

Passengers had a right to know what they were diverted or plans

If I was the pilot and had to listen to a screaming child I would be
so stressed I could not fly the plane.

If she got exceptional treatment on one flight by a crew then consider
yourself lucky. Did you write a letter of praise that day??? I doubt
it. Different people handle same type situation in different manners.
This appear to be the case this time.

Flying perhaps is not appropriate in your case with this child.
Driving, trains with a private compartment, or even a private plane
flight might all be better options.

As far as the seat and not stowing your baggage. NO PASSENGER would
of been allowed to keep their bag out in those seats or the floor.
Underneat the seat was for the passenger behind her. Lets see I have
a handicaped child so rules don't apply to me. I don't think so!

I have never heard that the FAA had a different set of rules for
Austic Children.


Private flight? by ams1001 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:33 PM

Then perhaps she should just stay home by Marty5223 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:35 PM

Should they stay home for the rest of his life? by ams1001 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:46 PM

I totally agree by Marty5223 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:52 PM

Equal treatment? by LadyMac Thu June 26, 2008 @ 7:51 AM

Ok to answer this question by Marty5223 Thu June 26, 2008 @ 8:57 AM

which is why the mother should not have chanced it by dulynoted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:55 PM

If she honestly felt he was ready to fly, by ams1001 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 8:52 PM

Really? by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 5:48 PM

I am a paying customer is who by Marty5223 Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:03 PM

by Harleycat (aka Usual Suspect #2) Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 4:50 PM

Let me start off by saying that I think the Flight Attendant was wrong
in touching his seat belt and the pilot was wrong in the way he
handled it. With that being said, I don't see anywhere in the article
that tells me that the mother tried to tell the FA that her son was

I don't think it's something that's always necessary to say in advance
but, if it was said, may have diffused the situation.

As the parent of an autistic child, do you think it either was said or
would have helped the situation if it had been said?


by dulynoted Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 3:59 PM

The key word here is "apparently". And until all sides are presented I
will not assume that the mother/child was the only persons who were
What I am about to write does not mean I am insensitive to the
disabled as I myself fall into that category.

As the parent of an autistic child Deborah you of all people should
understand that hardly any child at this age acclimates to a new
surrounding with ease. And in this case the autistic 2yr old found it
more difficult due to his disability.

The story I read stated that the mother had tried to use various items
she brought with her to calm her child down. It was not working and
this was causing much distress to all involved...including the
What you are saying is that these children can be put into these type
of situations and if they scream, cry and are visably miserable during
the flight all others should sit back, read and ignore it.

Yes Deborah you of all people should see both sides of this since you
also have an autistic child and have dealt with these type situations
all his/her life. Do you force your child into a situation where he or
she has little or no control over and expect them to calm down and be
rational? I doubt at the age of two they can or will for that matter.

I teach children's Sunday School and have 2 autistic children and 3
children with cerebral palsy in my class. So I am well aware of the
fact that children with disablities such as these are not always easy
to calm down the way it can be done at home. Sometimes we have to
remove them to help them calm down. When and if they do they return
and it may or may not happen again. Depends on the child and the
situation. Even disabled children and people are able to just have a
bad time and not be able to adjust. We learn to be patient and
understanding and help them along with this. But no all respond the
same way...and I believe this to be one of those instances.

So yes, Deborah...I would think as a parent of a disabled child with
autism you would be able to see both sides of this instead of just


P.S. by dulynoted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 4:02 PM

Exactly by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 4:45 PM

But the mother could no longer calm the child either...and if by dulynoted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:52 PM

I bet that by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sun June 29, 2008 @ 1:36 AM

On removing a by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Fri July 4, 2008 @ 12:03 PM

by All About the Branding Posted Wed June 25, 2008 @ 3:40 PM

Sounds like the airline's story is that FAA rules weren't being
followed (although there seems to be a disagreement on this) and that
there was a potentially dangerous situation.

What's the right way for an airline to handle this? (Obviously, the
way the pilot announced this was WAAAAY wrong and out of line)

What are your thoughts on how this should be handled.

As an aside, I heard on a radio talk show the other day the

The show's producer was on the subway and there was a teen boy that
kept raising his arms. The father had his back to the boy (and, as I
recall, was working on a Blackberry or something like that) would
reach back and lower the teen's arm.

At one point, the teen grabbed someone's newspaper and threw it on the
ground. Eventually, the talk show producer (who was telling the
story) get smacked in the face by the teen.

The producer, feeling angry that he was just smacked in the face by a
teenager (who had already ripped someone's newspaper out of another
passenger's hands), cursed at the teen. The father turned and said
"Sorry, Tourettes" (sp?) and went back to what he was doing.

This being a talk show, this story because the show's topic. Should
the father have done something more to protect the other passengers?
Was the show's producer being foolish to stand so close to someone
that was seemed not to have control? Should the father have
proactively warned the other passengers? Is it worse to embarrass the
child by announcing the disability? Or to let the child hit somoene
(resulting in embarrassment for the child because he's now being
yelled at)?

As you can imagine, the opinions are all over the place.

Myself, I have a child that has some (professionally diagnosed)
control issues and I spend quite a bit of time, while in public,
controlling him such that he doesn't affect other people.

As we've learned from many a letter here at PlanetFeedback, many
people feel that it's unacceptable for anyone, especially a child, to
"bother" them. Disability or not.


I have lots of thoughts by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 4:05 PM

That's what I figured... by All About the Branding Wed June 25, 2008 @ 4:20 PM

If the pilot was concerned by LadyMac Wed June 25, 2008 @ 4:48 PM

It is a safetly issue. by KJCat Wed June 25, 2008 @ 6:39 PM

I'm just coming in on this here tonight by ~Fiナ-la-ネea~ Sun June 29, 2008 @ 1:30 AM

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